For such a relatively small city with less than half a million people, Zurich sure does have a lot going on when it comes to nightlife, and especially gay life. Its gay scene is quite vibrant, helped by the fact that two thirds of the Swiss voted for registered same-sex partnership laws in a referendum (although same-sex marriage hasn’t yet been legalized). A lesbian mayor has been elected, further confirming that this is a largely open-minded city, and it has also received a great dose of attention since its Gay Pride celebration and Street Parade which are well known around Europe. In May, the Warmer Mai gay and lesbian festival brings special events, exhibitions, parties, and other activities to town.
Most of the city's gay hotspots are found in the center around Niederdorf Street, while several clubs are opening in the former industrial area. There's a special party on almost every day of the week; all you have to do is check the following spots:
This bar opened just after WWII and claims to be the oldest gay bar in Europe (that’s disputed). It has been a leather bar but is currently a modern and stylish place with a long bar, art videos, and a lounge serving sushi.
This popular cocktail bar is an attractive place to start the night before moving to the clubs. It gets mostly young gay males, with a few lesbians in between.
This fun bar plays techno, 90s, and other electronic beats to a mixed, festive crowd that also shows up for the occasional theme parties.
Infinity Bar & Lounge
Latin beats and classic pop hits are just two of the themes that are often presented at this modern bar. Upstairs is a lounge for chilling out with friends, which can also be booked for private events.
This two-level bar is owned by a gay TV personality and gets a mixed crowd (gay and straight) to party in style to the sound of the dance mixes.
Tip Top Bar
The newest and the classic dance hits are played at this bar, a fun, friendly place for drinks early in the evening, although it only closes at 4AM on weekends. It’s also known for its drag performances.
A Friday and Saturday destination for Zurich’s gay boys, this club invites local and international DJs and puts on some fabulous drag shows.
This garage-style space is for men of all ages, shapes and sizes to meet, but is especially popular with bears. It includes a shop for toys and leather products.
This popular sauna has a large steam bath and plunge pool, as well as biosauna, Finnish sauna, relaxation room with cabins, and massages by appointment.
This clean and modern sauna covers two floors offering a jacuzzi, steam bath, maze, and a bar for drinks and snacks.
Renos Relax Sauna
Open all night on Fridays and Saturdays, this sauna offers a large steam bath, Finnish dry sauna, a dark room, a cinema and cruising area. Twice a week, it’s also open to women and straight couples.
Sauna My Lord
This small sauna is known to attract all kinds of men. It includes a lounge and occasionally hosts special nights such as “naked yoga.”
There are no gay hotels in Zurich but there are a few that are particularly attractive to gay travelers:
Located close to gay bars, this boutique hotel in a historic building has 23 minimalist rooms. Its bar and lounge with outdoor seating tends to attract gay patrons.
With is excellent central location (just steps from the gay nightlife), this is a top choice for gay travelers. The rooms are classically-styled and feature paintings illustrating Zurich’s main landmarks.
Leoneck Swiss Hotel
Just a short walk from the main train station, this hotel is a superior 3-star property. The triple-glazed windows ensure a good night’s sleep and the restaurant offers a good breakfast. The gay bars aren’t very far.
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